The magic time was fast app­roaching. I slowly craned my neck to look to my left and then to my right for any signs of an approaching bear, then swiveled my torso enough to see directly behind me. I did not want a bear with 5-inch front paws sneaking up from the rear while I sat on the ground facing a pile of pastries and discarded beef bones a mere 30 yards distant.

A few minutes later, I heard a rustle in the brush before me. I tightened my grip on my muzzleloader and hunkered down a bit. Only a few small trees and some knee-high brush hid me from view, and I did not want a bear circling the bait to see me before it committed itself to the piles of food. Then some green ferns began swaying back and forth. Something was sneaking up on me, but I couldn’t see what it was.

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Now it was only 10 yards away, and slowly closing the distance, but I still could not make out what it was. I dared not move for fear of spooking it off, yet I was not so sure I wanted it to come much closer—but it did—a lot closer. Not more than 10 feet away, I was about to face what was out there.

Suddenly, a bear stepped out of the brush! Not a big bear mind you, but a 75-pound yearling. He apparently had me pegged from a distance and was curious enough to work his way towards me for a better look.

When it realized I was a man sitting on the ground, his eyes grew wide. He immediately pivoted on his front feet and disappeared in a flash, much to my relief.

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The magic time was fast app­roaching. I slowly craned my neck to look to…